Katie, from Sluiter Nation, wrote a beautiful post about taking Pursey Galore on a tour of the charms and history of a small town. But I immediately latched onto the placard about the visit from the Queen of the Netherlands. Now, I have no idea if Queen Beatrix has a sense of humor, but in my imagination, this is how such a meeting might go…
I’m angry, thought Katie.
I’m angry and I’m irritated and I don’t believe I got dragged to this stupid event.
She stood with her arms crossed and her brow furrowed and refused to look at her husband.
Her husband refused to look at her, too.
“I don’t believe you brought that thing,” he hissed.
Katie turned her head further away but smiled slightly.
She decided that she liked revenge.
“It’s horrible,” he whispered.
Well yes, thought Katie, that was the idea. Make me give up my weekend just to impress a bunch of people we don’t like anyway and I am going to get even.
And since her sense of decorum prevented her from actually being rude to anyone, she got even the only was she knew how. Which was to pair her elegant cocktail dress with a trashy, zebra-striped handbag.
And to make sure her husband didn’t reach a state of apoplexy before they left the house and insist she select something more appropriate, Katie had hidden the bag in the car ahead of time, pulling it from the back seat just as they reached valet parking. Her husband didn’t even know she had it until they were walking into the hotel.
At which point he did reach a state of apoplexy, but there was nothing to be done about it.
Katie had an excellent sense of timing.
Her husband suggested in a strained voice that perhaps she could leave it at the coat-check desk. “Nonsense,” she replied. “I need my lipstick and I’d have no place to carry it.”
So they stood at a black-tie cocktail reception making small talk with a population of local business people that they’d never met, and who they would probably never see again, and Katie smiled each time someone stared at the purse, then glanced politely away to ask their thoughts on the weather.
HA! She thought, enjoying the perplexed look on each rich face.
Katie wandered to the buffet table, appreciating the tasty spread of hors d’oeuvres despite herself. She reached for a canapés just as a flurry of activity on the edges of the ballroom caught her eye. Something was up, there were suddenly many more men in suits than there had been moments before.
Her husband was at her side seconds later. “What’s going on?” She asked.
“Some unexpected VIP showed up, I guess.”
“Who? The president of the Chamber of Commerce?” She asked sarcastically.
“Yes, because that’s the person who requires a secret service detail,” replied her husband, matching her tone drip for sarcastic drip.
Katie and her husband watched as a pairs of men and women in dark suits quietly appeared to flank each doorway. Who was in the hotel? A senator? A cabinet member?
The room was suddenly quiet as the guests scanned the doorways waiting for the appearance of the guest that required such measures. Then a side door of the ballroom opened and a woman of impeccable carriage with a satin sash across her gown walked into the room, escorted by additional people in telling, dark suits.
Whispers reached Katie’s ears. Queen Beatrix, from the Netherlands.
Katie’s mouth went a little dry. A queen? An honest-to-goodness queen? And she was standing there with a zebra-striped sequined handbag on her shoulder? Well crap…talk about a plan backfiring.
She briefly considered flinging the purse under the buffet table, but abandoned that plan when a pair of strong, intelligent eyes caught hers and the woman in the gown and the sash walked toward her.
Shit! Was all Katie could think.
Queen Beatrix strode gracefully to her, her gaze shifting perceptibly from Katie’s face to the audacious sequined accessory hanging from her shoulder. Katie prepared herself for the obligatory eyebrow raising.
But the Queen smiled.
“That’s a powerful piece of wardrobe,” she remarked.
Speak! Katie told herself. Use words! A verb! Include a verb! Don’t swear! “I..ahem…I was trying to avoid anything that was too stuffy.”
“I’d say you succeeded beautifully. Sometimes I wish I could tell the world to bugger off that way.”
Katie blinked. The Queen of the Netherlands says “bugger off?”
“I imagine it’s harder for you than it is for me,” she said.
“Very true,” answered the Queen. “So perhaps you can do it for me. Take care, my dear.” And she turned and made her way to the next guest.
Katie swallowed. Then she grinned. The Queen of the Netherlands liked her trashy handbag and clearly thought she had moxie.
She liked that. She lifted her chin a bit and pulled the bag into more prominent view on her hip. She glanced at her husband and said haughtily, “I’d like a cocktail now.”
Her husband snorted. “Get it yourself, your highness.”
Katie sighed and walked over to the bar, certain that Beatrix would never in a million years have to fetch her own cosmopolitan.